Dodgers @ Cardinals July 23, 2012: Trading Season is Now

Chad Billingsley comes off the disabled list to… well, hang on just a second there, because today has been a day. First Ryan Dempster was traded to the Braves, and then he wasn’t, and now nobody knows. If it goes through, young Randall Delgado is expected to be part of the deal, which makes it a wonderful move for the Cubs. Delgado is just 22 and while he’s struggled this year in the bigs, he’s also got a good minor-league track record and was rated as a top-50 Baseball America prospect in each of the last two seasons. When asked on Twitter how Delgado compared with Zach Lee, Baseball Prospectus‘ Kevin Goldstein replied that Delgado is “safer, but not as much upside.”

Dodgers
Cardinals
LF
Abreu
SS
Furcal
2B
M.Ellis
CF
Jay
CF
Kemp
LF
Holliday
RF
Ethier
RF
Beltran
1B
Rivera
1B
Berkman
3B
Kennedy
C
Molina
SS
Cruz
2B
Schumaker
C
A.Ellis
3B
Carpenter
P
Billingsley
P
Kelly

Yet while the Dodgers wisely appear to have decided that Lee wasn’t worth two months of 35-year-old Dempster, one-and-rougly-one-quarter seasons of 28-year-old Matt Garza just might be, if you believe the rumors. Garza was pulled from his last start after only three innings with triceps soreness, and is now being pushed back an additional day this week to give him more time to heal.

I like Garza well enough, especially coming off a great 2011, and he’d be a good addition to the Dodger rotation. I’m just not sure he’s worth giving up Lee for, because as I said on Twitter, Garza’s 4.14 FIP in 2012 (and 4.00 career) isn’t even better than Billingsley’s 3.39 FIP in 2012 (or 3.68 career). That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because you know I feel that Billingsley is underrated, and Lee may even be overrated – though absolutely no one should be putting too much stock in the raw stats of five AA games from a 20-year-old – but if even if you’re okay with moving Lee, I really don’t see how it’s beneficial to do so without getting a bat in return. Chase Headley, sure. Garza… well, better him than Dempster.

Oh, and Ichiro Suzuki is a Yankee. And Anibal Sanchez & Omar Infante are Tigers, while Jacob Turner and friends are Marlins. Yay, trades!

Anyway, there’s still a game to be played, and Billingsley is indeed back to face the Cardinals tonight. Josh Wall, fresh off his first big-league win, gets sent back to Albuquerque. Billingsley pitched one of the best games of his life last April against the Cardinals, striking out 11 over eight scoreless innings, but hasn’t pitched in St. Louis in over two years.

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